Extra ranger gives boost to enforcement on Kenai River

Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2005

KENAI - The addition of another ranger was credited with officials writing more than twice as many violations on the Kenai River this year from 2004.

"Just about every boat out there has something going on that needs to be addressed," ranger Bill Berkhahn said.

Berkhahn said 972 citations were written this summer on the Kenai, compared to about 460 written in 2004.

Berkhahn cautioned the Kenai River Special Management Area advisory board that the figures don't necessarily mean there was more rule-breaking going on; it's just there was an additional ranger helping write tickets.

But he said the sheer number of tickets indicates many boaters go on the water with at least some type of safety or fishing relates issues that need to be addressed.

The majority of citations were either for boating safety (144) or illegal fishing practices (251 citations). Most boating safety citations were issued for not having enough life jackets on board or for children under 13 not wearing a life jacket.

In addition, 78 citations were issued to boaters found to be using motors exceeding the 35-horsepower limit.

Overall, 58 citations were issued to guides in 2005, 18 of which were for failure to complete a required end-of-season report.

Most violations rangers come across are minor and easily correctable, he said. Besides the citations, he said rangers also issued countless verbal warnings.

"It's not like we cite everybody we see," he said.

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